Earrings from the Seashore

When I was a kid, we would challenge one another with tongue twisters.  One I remember is “she sells sea shells by the seashore.”  I often wondered how anyone could make money selling seashells near a beach.  That was then and this is now.  Shells are harder to come by on the beach nowadays.  Still, a friend did manage to find some seashells which she asked me to make into earrings for her.

The shells looked like small mussels to me and were pretty delicate so I decided to give them a reinforcing coat of epoxy resin after I drilled tiny holes for jump rings.  2DrilledCoatedShells

My new dehydrator came in handy for drying the shells after I coated them because the weather is humid around here.  By the way, this dehydrator was $24.99 when I bought it on Amazon a couple of months ago to use with metal clay.  Now it’s selling for three times as much and  I have no idea why.  But there are plenty of dehydrators to be had for under $40.00 if you shop around.

6 Dehyrator

I like to weigh my resin on a gram scale.  I put a silicone egg cup on the scale, calibrate  to zero, and pour in equal parts resin and hardener.  When I am done,  I let the remaining resin resin cure in the cup, pop it out and throw it away.  Voila!  The silicone cup is clean for the next resin project.

 

I used real 24 K gold leaf for one pair of shells and fine silver foil for the inside of the second pair.  I attached the leaf with sizing and coated the shells with Pebeo varnish. I laid the shells on an old silicone pot holder to dry and sanded off any blobs before I applied the leaf.

 

 

 

And here are the finished earrings: gold filled wire for one pair and sterling wires for the pair with the silver leaf undersides.    The earrings are extremely light and a lot more durable because of the resin coating.

Earrings

 

 

Color Inspired Natasha Experiments

OK, I admit that I’m brain-dead and dog tired this week, so I decided to post  pictures of one of the polymer side trips I made while I was working my way through the exercises in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. You’ve heard of Natasha Beads and there are a myriad of tutorials on the Web on how to make them.  I made the pieces below by chopping up bits of clay I used for different color exercises, compacting them into a plug as for a Natasha bead, slicing the plug lengthwise and opening it to reveal the design.  I  rolled the  clay to make the two sections the same thickness but tried to maintain the integrity of the design. Then I cut out shapes with a tissue blade or a clay cutter.  After baking and cooling, I coated the tops with doming epoxy resin. I plan to finish them with bails or pin backs.

Here are the results.

Resin Experiments

I wanted to see what alcohol inks, metal leaf, glitter and bits of metal and glass would do when I suspended them in epoxy resin.  I  got some interesting results!   I used Envirotex Lite and  Easy Cast brand resin, and poured in layers to see what effects I could get.  I made the squares in a plastic pill organizer. I didn’t have to use bead release; I just tapped the edge of the box when the resin was cured and the blocks slid out.

I made my own molds for the bracelets using 100 percent silicone caulk,  glycerin and noise putty I found at the dollar store.  You can get a general idea of how to make these molds  from this article on the Village Garden Website.

If you’re looking for more in-depth information on working with resin,   I recommend  Resin Jewelry by Kathy Murphy.